Brick Smoker Upgrading

Discussion in 'Brick Smokers' started by pianov, Nov 18, 2014.

  1. I built my offset masonry smoker almost 20 years ago now. At the time I really didn't know exactly what I wanted to do for a firebox door and the doors and top for the smokebox. I settled on a cast iron ash clean-out door for the firebox and very simple 3/4" pine planks for the SB door and top. I didn't really like any of it, but it did let me start smoking meat!

    Well, it worked, so that's what I used for about 20 years. However, now the wood has warped so much that the smokebox leaks like a sieve and I never did like the firebox flue control, nor the door.

    So. New everything. Let's start with a couple photos of the old setup. Below is the old firebox door and vent (of sorts anyway - just a pipe and a hunk of wood jammed into it).

    And the picture below shows the original smokebox door and top.

    Now for the upgrades. Below is a pic of the smokebox today - installing a steel lintel of sorts. I will be roughly doubling the size of the smokebox. The new top will be a dome (19" radius semicircle). So I will have the original lower portion of the smokebox that will have two doors that are hinged on the sides and that close in the center. The top semi-circle door will be one-piece and hinged on the bottom (hinges will be welded to the steel bar in the picture.

    In pic below I knocked out the lower two-bricks of the face of the firebox - now the firebox opening is the full size of the firebox. It will have the steel frame you see below. I have a piece of 3/16" plate steel for the door - hinged on the left side. Damper vents will be in door - one or two at the bottom and one up higher.

    Below is pic of the back of the new dome top. The top that you see is three ply laminated spruce (Sitka) totaling about 1/2" thick. The back is three plies of spruce (middle ply is 90 degrees to the outer and inner plies) about 1" thick and then a sheet of 3/4" ply on the inside. All laminated wood is odd number of plies set at 90 degree angles.

    Below is an interior shot of the domed top. The dome is shaped by two laminated maple & spruce semicircle arches (one in front that you can see and the other is at the back. The arches are just over one inch tall. The interior ceiling surface that you see inside the dome is a piece of 20 gauge steel. There is fiberglass insulation between the steel ceiling and the outer skin of laminated spruce.

    I'm in the process of making the doors right now. Below is picture of the smokebox upper door. It will be a total of 7 plies of Douglas Fir, cheap pine and spruce. Two of the spruce laminations are in the wooden panel clamps in the pic below. I haven't planed down yet the Douglas Fir outer lamination shown on top. - It'll have some pretty contrasting bookmatched striped colors.

    Below is the inner lamination or Doug Fir of the upper door. I won't describe the unfortunate circumstances that led me to have to epoxy it together this way.......  :-(

    Below is picture of two of the spruce laminations for the upper door being glued up in the panel clamps. I just edge glued all the laminations with Titebond Three.

    Below is pic of the five laminations for one of the firebox lower doors. Inner & outer Doug Fir and three inner pine laminations. All doors will be vacuum-bag laminated together with a two-part urea-formaldehyde adhesive.

    Here is another shot of the top dome. I'm so happy with how this thing came out. I think it'll look pretty cool once all is together!

    More later as things progress........  My smoker has been down for several months now. I'm dying for some good ribs, etc., etc., etc.!!!

    Terry Farrell

    Tampa Bay, Florida
  2. Nice improvements. I look forward to seeing some smoke.

    Happy smoken.

  3. Nice improvements.


    I look forward to seeing some smoke.

    You and me both!!!

    Happy smoken.

    Is there any other kind????

  4. wes w

    wes w Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Terry, that is a work of art!   On a lighter note,  I'm glad to see that I am not the only one that keeps a "totally organized" shop.  :)

    I love the dome,   How will you vent it?

    Welcome to the BS page!

  5. You mean you actually noticed my "little mess" here and there? OMG, I have absolutely zero organizational skills. It's all I can do to keep some sort of path from one end of my shop to the other. Never mind when I have to move a piano from one end of the shop to the other! I figure it's just a burden some of us must bear.   :-(

    I love the dome also. If you look at the third picture in my original post, you can see the chimney pipe laying on top of the smokebox. It is 4-inch diameter, double-walled vent pipe designed to vent a gas water heater. I had three inch of the same previously, and it seemed to work okay, I just thought that going a bit bigger would be a fine thing. I will also be fitting a damper in the chimney pipe. It will exit the dome at the top of the rear wooden wall of the dome. It will go about two feet at a 45 degree angle (to clear a metal roof) and then I think the vertical chimney pipe is three or four feet long.

    I ran the lower door laminations through the planer just now. I plan to glue them up tomorrow. Then I need to run the upper door laminations through the planer and glue them up. Then it will be just an assembly (and welding) project. I really, really wish I was better at welding - I really seem to be challenged.
  6. wes w

    wes w Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    LOL!   If I had more then a path in the shop I wouldn't be able to find anything.  :)

    I can't wait to see this complete.  The wood arch just looks awesome!    Great idea
  7. My next build is 40' x 60' and I am not talking about a smoker.

    Happy smoken.

  8. wes w

    wes w Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I keep saying I'm going to build one myself.   Between building beehives, bees and smoking I don't get a lot done.   My hobbies have taken over my life.  :)
  9. I can't wait to TASTE the completed output!  Will post when done.
  10. You're gonna built one what yourself?
  11. wes w

    wes w Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    If I'm thinking correctly David is talking about a brick oven.   Pizza and beer.   Can life be any better?!
  12. moikel

    moikel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Massive amount of skill on display here with that woodwork. [​IMG]My woodwork teacher said I was the worst student he had encountered since the war.He meant WW2 & it was the mid 70s[​IMG]

    That shape is what I am talking about for a simpler version of a brick oven. You build it off the flat hearth ,2 x end walls laid regular with shaped bricks to but up against the curve.Form in that shape to lay the bricks on,then take it out brick in the the 2 ends

    Put the door in the middle as the half barrel shape sits east/west. I saw it somewhere on the web. Racking my brain about how they did the chimney.  

    I don't mean to hijack this  thread but members have been asking about brick arches that are beyond my ability to describe[​IMG]  

    If I  can work it out myself I am going to build another one while I am young enough to lay the bricks.
  13. jim williams

    jim williams Meat Mopper

    I love the arch idea, as I will attempt mine with brick.
    Good luck with yours and happy smoking!
  14. I posted a bunch of pictures of my upgrades about 95% done.  "New Doors and Top on an Old Brick Smoker"

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